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jtg 12-20-2012 01:28 PM

New to PNW from colder climates, questions about gear/layering/waterproofing
This is my first season going to the mountains in the PNW (Seattle). I'm used to going in the canadian rockies (Louise, Fortress, Sunshine). Out there, if you didn't buy well-insulated gear, you're gonna freeze going up the lifts and have a bad time.

All of the local shops seem to have surprisingly light gear, but a lot of gore-tex shells. Talking to a few people, it sounds like you're more likely to get soaked after a day on the slopes at any resort around here, and not likely to get cold (other than from being wet).

I'm not sure what waterproof rating to shoot for - what is consensus around here? And is no insulation on pants really sufficient, or is it worth looking for something lightly insulated?

I was thinking of some gore-tex pants and gloves, but figured waterproofing on a jacket was less important, so I'd just keep my existing one.

Is gore-tex necessary for these items, or would something like 15kmm on pants be just as good for what a day of snowboarding is exposed to?

Being that I'm in Seattle, I'm probably going to be spending most of my time at Crystal, Snoqualmie, Stevens. I hear Baker is great, but a little far.

killclimbz 12-20-2012 02:06 PM

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I think 15k or higher will work. There are days you could be out when it's raining on the whole mountain. So your stuff does get soaked. Not the most fun days anyway. Gore Tex is not bad for the PNW. It is a much warmer climate for sure. When I am out there, I feel like my base layers are practically nothing in comparison to what I wear in Colorado. Seems like every time I am out there is a forecasted "Cold" day and I wear my warmer layers. I always end up burning up all day long because I am wearing too much. Fantastic riding at all the spots you mentioned. You'll like it.

wrathfuldeity 12-20-2012 02:45 PM

I use light long sleeve wicking, a polypro and the gortex shell 20k, wicking shorts and gortex shell pant, if its cold use a fleece neck gaiter; gortex mitts with very light liner and extra liners for after lunch. It its under 22 degrees close up the vents.

schmitty34 12-20-2012 06:02 PM

I'd say 20-33 degrees is the typical range you are going to deal with on most days, so whatever you need to feel warm at those temps should be good with an additional layer available when it dips lower. I RARELY use anything more than a light base layer and non-insulated jacket an pants. I get crazy hot when I ride and would rather be cold on the lift then sweating like a pig. If it dips below 20, then I might where an additional top layer.

I tend to avoid the hill when it's raining so standard waterproofing works for me.

Fergatron2000 12-20-2012 06:51 PM

You don't need it but gore Tex is rad for the PNW. Medium insulation at most on both pants and jacket. Like these guys said, keep it light under your jacket or you'll soak from the inside. At least 10k breathability is a must because you'll probably be working harder than climates with lighter snow.

Much of the season is socked in with fog and flat light so get yourself some lenses that let in a lot of light. Make time to get to baker.

J.Schaef 12-21-2012 01:30 PM

I spend a few days on the hill every year, I wear a smartwool midweight base layer top and bottom, Gore tex Shell pants, and a gore tex Jacket. I have one with light insulation for the cold days, and one with no insulation for the warmer days. Sometimes I wear a dryride hoody underneath if it is really chilly. If you spend a lot of time on the hill, I'd go with gore tex if you can afford it. There are many times that you will be thankful for it.

I love Smith's sensor mirror lenses for our weather. I either use the red, or blue sensor mirror almost exclusively.

pdxrealtor 12-22-2012 02:46 PM

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I just started trying to perfect what works best for me. I get hot when I'm going hard, but cold when riding the lifts.

Right now I'm playing around with a Columbia omni-heat base layer. It's a tight under armor style shirt with that silver reflective shit on the inside.... whatever... it was all half price so worth a try. Verdict is still out on that.

From there I've tried just a fleece, and just a Columbia omni-wind half zip shirt. Both left me a bit too cold when the wind blew. But, combining the two left me wet with a lot sweat. So much sweat I thought my coat might not be blocking the water so I took a shower in it today. It's good to go. I was sweating so much I went through a thin base, a NF fleece, and a med. weight top layer.

I think a lot of it is going to depend on how you feel comfortable when out on the mountain. I like to be on the warm side, but not so warm I'm drenched in sweat.

Start with whatever base/shell you like and layer from there until you find the sweet spot.

pdxrealtor 12-22-2012 02:48 PM

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Originally Posted by Snowolf (Post 555430)
Flat light is a horrible problem here and the Persimons lenses seem to provide the best contrast on our gray days.

Got a link to that persimmon lens???? I can't find it. The closest I could find that looks similar was the red sol-x or the red sensor.

When I was out on Thursday the mountain was socked in and the surface was shit. The red sensor doesn't cut it for me in those conditions.

J.Schaef 12-22-2012 03:07 PM

Try picking up a blue sensor mirror lens, or maybe a gold sensor mirror. Both the blue and the gold are 70% VLT, where the red sensor is 60% VLT.

pdxrealtor 12-22-2012 03:25 PM

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Originally Posted by J.Schaef (Post 555945)
Try picking up a blue sensor mirror lens, or maybe a gold sensor mirror. Both the blue and the gold are 70% VLT, where the red sensor is 60% VLT.

Thanks. Have the blue and it's the best so far in flat light. Wolfy was talking about how good the persimmon is and I'd like to try it because I like red tint better than yellow.

However... can't seem to find any persimmon smith lens..

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